Delight is a 3 year old rat who we saw last month because she had a mass on her side. Unfortunately tumours in rats are quite common, and can often get so large that they start to affect the rat’s ability to move around.
Although Delight is a senior rat (they usually live until they are 2-3 years old) she is fit and healthy and her owners were keen to do everything they could to keep her comfortable. She was booked in for a general anaesthetic and surgery to remove the mass.
Surgery in small mammals such as rats is riskier than in dogs and cats, partly because we are not able to intubate them. This is when we pass a tube into the airway to protect it.Delight’s surgery went well and she was sent home wearing a stockinette waistcoat, as rats are notorious for pulling at their sutures!
Delight was cared for and nursed at home by her owners, Lucy (11) and Olly (9), and I’m sure they let her have a few of her favourite foods, coconut and choc drops.
She did manage to remove one of her sutures herself, but she healed up well and is now back to normal.
Although some people recoil from them, domestic rats are clean, clever, enjoy human company and make wonderful pets. Rats need company of their own kind, so it’s unfair to keep one on its own. To avoid unwanted babies, the best option is usually a pair or group of the same sex. Delight has five cage mates which I’m sure has contributed to her fantastic age as happy rats are generally healthier and live longer.